Shorter duration of breastfeeding at elevated exposures to perfluoroalkyl substances

Reprod Toxicol. 2017 Mar;68:164-170. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2016.07.010. Epub 2016 Jul 12.


The aim of this study was to determine whether maternal exposure to persistent perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) affect the capability to breastfeed. In two Faroese birth cohorts (N=1130), concentrations of five PFASs were measured in maternal serum during pregnancy or two weeks after term. Duration of breastfeeding was assessed by questionnaire and clinical interview. In adjusted linear regression models, a doubling of maternal serum PFASs was associated with a reduction in duration of both total and exclusive breastfeeding, most pronounced for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) where a doubling was associated with a reduction in total breastfeeding of 1.4 (95% CI: 0.6; 2.1) months and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) where a doubling was associated with a reduction in exclusive breastfeeding of 0.5 (0.3; 0.7) months. The associations were evident among both primiparous and multiparous women, and thus cannot be explained by confounding from previous breastfeeding.

Keywords: Breast milk; Breastfeeding; Endocrine disruption; Lactation; Maternal health; Perfluoroalkyl substances.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / adverse effects*
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / blood*
  • Breast Feeding / trends*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / adverse effects*
  • Fluorocarbons / blood*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Time Factors


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid